by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — The owners of Logansport’s McDonald’s at the intersection of Market and Cicott streets recently bought the vacant car wash across the street.
Soft Touch Car Wash has been on the market since May 2009, according to Judy McNarny of McNarny & Wolfe Realtors, the realty firm with which the car wash was listed. It had been listed for 1,555 days.
“It was kind of a unique property,” McNarny said. The owners, who also run a car wash on Logansport’s east side, had determined they would sell the former west side car wash only on the condition that the buyer not open a new car wash.
Mark and Patricia Hammons, owners of five McDonald’s franchise locations including the one at 611 W. Market St., purchased the former car wash at 714-716 W. Market St. at the end of August, said Patricia Hammons.
A sales disclosure filed with the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance indicates former owners Mike and Vickie Miller sold the property for $60,000.
The property included a parking lot and a 2,560-square-foot building formerly used as a car wash, as well as some vacant land, according to county property records.
The Hammons bought the property mainly for the extra parking it would afford, Patricia Hammons said.
“We already have it in use,” she said. “We struggle a tremendous amount with parking at the restaurant.”
Employees began parking there the day after ownership was transferred, she added. Up to a dozen vehicles may be parked there on a busy day, said Patricia Hammons, depending on employees’ transportation arrangements.
The change “has taken a lot of pressure off of the restaurant,” Patricia Hammons said.
She expects to use the former car wash building to house equipment related to taking care of the restaurant properties and some space for the facilities manager to carry out repairs.
“We had to do some improvements there and clean up the building,” said Patricia Hammons, saying they plan to “be a good neighbor... We’ll keep fixing it up.”
A few other changes may be in store for the west side McDonald’s.
The restaurant “is nearly 20 years old. We’re positioning for the next 20,” said Patricia Hammons.
The Hammons are considering changing the drive-thru lanes at the restaurant to either a dual-lane setup — where one waiting line of cars ends up splitting in a Y to enter two separate lanes — or a setup of tandem order taking, in which one lane includes two ordering stations.
“Ordering in McDonald’s has become really complex, with all the McCafe and specialty items,” said Patricia Hammons. As a result, customers tend to bottleneck at the ordering station.
A dual-lane system would alleviate the bottleneck at ordering, as would a tandem system, though not as efficiently.
“Optimally we would like to do a dual lane, or they call it a side-by-side lane,” said Patricia Hammons, but if space limitations nix that idea, they could go with a tandem system instead.
At present, the restaurant is using a hand-held ordering station to take care of some waiting customers.
“It helps a lot, but it’s not a long-term solution,” said Patricia Hammons. An employee must be sent out “in the elements,” she explained, and drive-thru customers can’t see a menu board or a tally of the cost of what they’ve ordered so far.
“We actually had a complaint when it was so hot — ‘those poor people have to be outside.’” Customers don’t like to see that, Patricia Hammons said.
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME